Mortality associated with care-giving and care-giving related stress: a data linkage study.

Many studies have suggested that caregiving has a detrimental impact on health, thus the terminology ‘caregiver burden’ and ‘caregiver stress’. However, these conclusions are challenged by research (including from NILS and ONS-LS) that finds evidence of a comparative survivorship advantage. It is possible that while the overall effect on mortality may be beneficial, there may be sub-groups of carers who are at a higher mortality risk. The differentiating factor may be the amount of stress experienced, as Fredman et al. (2010) found high-stress caregivers had a higher mortality risk compared to both non-carers and low stress caregivers.

Approximately 17% of the Northern Ireland population provides informal care and understanding who are most at risk of negative outcomes is vital for ensuring the health and well-being of caregivers. This study will utilize data from the Northern Ireland Mortality Study, which holds mortality information on all residents enumerated in the 2011 Census. By analysing mortality after the Census (until end 2012) we can determine risk based on both care-giving status and psychological health as identified in the 2011 Census.

This project will aim to determine:

(i) The risk of all-cause mortality based on caregiving status and psychological health

(ii) The risk of all-cause mortality given caregiving responsibility, i.e. no of hours in caring role and specific caring duties either to a child with illness or disability, or to a spouse with dementia, illness or disability.



O’Reilly, D., Rosato, M., Maguire, A. and Wright, D. (2015) ‘Caregiving is associated with a lower risk of suicide: a longitudinal study of almost 200,000’ Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health (Impact Factor: 3.29). 09/2015; 69(Suppl 1).DOI: 10.1136/jech-2015-206256.46

O’Reilly, D., Rosato, M., Maguire, A. and Wright, D. (2015) ‘Caregiving reduces mortality risk for most caregivers: a census-based record linkage study’ International Journal of Epidemiology, 2015, 1-11: doi: 10.1093/ije/dyv172

Foteini Tseliou, Michael Rosato, Aideen Maguire, David Wright, Dermot O’Reilly, Variation of Caregiver Health and Mortality Risks by Age: A Census-Based Record Linkage Study, American Journal of Epidemiology, Volume 187, Issue 7, July 2018, Pages 1401–1410,


Other Outputs:

O’Reilly, D., Rosato, M., Maguire, A. & Wright,D. (2014) ‘Is caregiving good for you?’ – presented at the British Isles Longitudinal Studies (BILS) meeting in Glasgow, 19th November 2014.

Research Team: Dr Aideen Maguire, Dr Dermot O’Reilly, Dr David Wright and Dr Michael Rosato
Database: NIMS
Project Status: Complete
Organisation(s): Queen’s University Belfast & Ulster University